Prince Charming Ch. 03byalana9©
I'll be working on the next section 'Spring' very soon!
Winter quarter sucked. That was Nick's official verdict. The introductory business classes in the fall hadn't been so bad, but the second round of them were flat out awful. He was mired in business math, marketing, statistics (blech!), and his two general ed classes, geology and abnormal psych. Out of the five that he took, only the last one was actually interesting. His schedule was so full he didn't even have room for art, but his professor from first quarter had been nice enough to tell him he could come to the studio on weekends until he was able to sign up for another class. What she actually told him was that he should be showing his work locally, and he had the talent to make a career out of painting, but it was only frustrating to hear that. His father's checkbook had halted that plan.
Nick was seriously considering telling his father to shove the business degree where the sun didn't shine and just get a job to pay for the classes he wanted to take. Too bad he'd never in a million years qualify for financial aid. They'd take one look at a statement from his personal bank account alone and laugh his ass right out of the office. They would never understand that that account could disappear in a heartbeat the second he pissed his father off and while it was his money to spend, the activity was closely monitored. Just like everything else he did. The money, and the free ride, were only his as long as he behaved. So Nick kept on with the horrible business classes and tried to figure out a way to make himself happier.
The only thing that Nick had liked about college since winter break were being away from his father, the rare time he had with his friends...and of course Tommy. Always Tommy. He tried to forget their exploratory Christmas day kiss, but every time he closed his eyes, there it was—those soft lips and sweet little whimpers, the way he slipped that shy tongue into Nick's mouth to play...
Nick nearly groaned out loud before he realized that he was in the middle of a geology lecture and he was supposed to be taking notes on igneous rock formations instead of dreaming about Tommy's lips and how much he wanted to be in that moment again. He couldn't really do anything about the fact that every time his mind wandered he was right back in that moment living it again and again.
That night, as he stumbled back to the dorm over the icy crust that was all there was left of the Christmas blizzard, he smiled with the news he wanted to tell Tommy about the independent film marathon they were playing at the small theater in town that weekend. They needed a roomie date anyway. Tommy's schedule wasn't any better than Nick's and it seemed like weeks since they'd done anything alone together other than sleep. Of course he always wanted to be alone with Tommy...or not alone with Tommy. He wasn't that picky. As long as he could touch him, everything was fine. Luckily that hadn't changed. Tommy, in the few times they'd managed to just hang out, was still as cuddly as ever. He had no idea how that started in the first place but, Nick wasn't about to start complaining.
Nick gratefully opened the door to their building, glad to be out of the punishing wind, and trudged up the stairs to their top floor room. It was such a relief to finally not be in class. He was hoping that Tommy hadn't gone to the cafeteria yet cause he was hungry and he didn't feel like walking alone.
His appetite disappeared as soon as he opened the door to their room. Tommy was at his computer, playing a game but he wasn't alone. There, draped over the back of Tommy's chair, disgustingly pretty and as annoying as hell, was Chase. He was laughing and pointing to the computer screen.
"Hi Nicky!" Tommy exclaimed happily as soon as he heard the door shut. "Chase stopped by to see if you wanted to go to dinner with him."
"Hey, T... Hi Chase."
"Why do you still call me that? I haven't been short since junior high."
"I know, but it drives you crazy, so it's fun. Maybe I'll start calling you Nicky too like this one does." He fluffed Tommy's hair flirtatiously, which caused no small amount of giggling.
"Uh, no you won't. T, you coming to dinner?"
"Am I invited?"
Nick shot Chase a hard look. "Of course, right Chase?"
"Yeah. Of course the little guy can come."
"Okay, hold on. I've only got thirty seconds left on this level."
It was freezing outside. Still. Nick hadn't expected that to change in the five minutes that he'd been in the dorm, but it never hurt to dream. Tommy didn't seem to mind the icy stabbing wind and the newest addition of little splinters of ice that seemed to cut into the skin of Nick's face. Tommy scampered around Nick and Chase excitedly, talking a mile a minute. It was the opposite of the problem he'd had with Math boy. Around Chase, he couldn't seem to shut up. Chase looked like he was a little annoyed by the chatterbox fluttering back and forth in front of him. Nick, perversely, just found it adorable.
His feelings for Tommy had only grown since that one sweet little kiss they'd shared on Christmas. Things hadn't gotten awkward between them since that night. Nick had made sure of it. It would've killed him if their relationship descended into silence and just being....well, roommates instead of the best friends that they'd become. Of course, he wanted to kiss Tommy again, so bad it made his mouth water every time his soft little puppy of a roommate cuddled up close to watch TV or a movie. It was killing him but he tried not to show it.
"Man, there's a huge line." Chase's irritated voice broke through the stream of Tommy's nervous chatter. "That's why I always go to the cafeteria on the other side of campus."
"I'll run ahead and hold you guys a spot," Tommy offered, smiling at Chase. Nick wanted to take the pencil in his pocket and shove it in Chase's neck.
"Tommy, you don't have to," Nick protested.
"It's okay, I don't mind." Another grin in Chase's direction.
"You go do that, shorty. We'll be right behind you."
Tommy ran off to hold them a spot in line. Nick chuckled under his breath as he watched him prance. He still wanted to strangle Chase but there was no point in dwelling on it.
"So you hittin' that yet?"
Nick's irritation boiled up instantly. "No. He's a really good friend. It's not like that between us."
Chase chuckled. "I've known you too long, Logan. You wanna fuck him into the mattress so bad you can taste it."
"I'm seriously going to kick your ass if you ever say anything like that about Tommy again. He's my friend."
"Well, hey if you're not claiming, can I have some? He'd be cute if he shut up every few seconds."
"Don't you dare, Chase," Nick growled softly. Chase gave him a sharp look.
"Oh my god, you don't want to fuck the kid. You're like in love with him and shit."
"You aren't seriously into that little boy, aren't you?"
"He's the same age as us."
"Yeah, but..." Chase gestured at himself and then at Tommy in the distance. He looked perplexed. Nick didn't know how to explain real feelings to someone who didn't seem to have them. Besides, Tommy was adorable, and not just because Nick was hopeless over him. The girls in their group always talked about his big melty eyes and how he was such a cutie. Nick didn't want to hear anything negative about him.
"Just leave it Chase. Let's go have dinner and then say goodnight. I've got shit to do for class."
"Yeah, I know what you'd rather be doing." Chase made an obnoxious humping motion with his hips. Nick socked him on the shoulder. "Ow, fucker. That hurt."
"Quit being an asshole then."
Chase chuckled and rushed up to meet Tommy, who'd managed to scoot his way up to the front of the line.
* * * * Tommy floated through the door into their dorm. He would have danced and twirled around in circles if it wouldn't have made Nick look at him like he'd gone totally nuts. He had dinner with Chase—and Chase laughed at his jokes and smiled and ruffled his hair and it was soooo amazing. He giggled giddily as he draped his coat and hat over the footboard of his bed.
Nick shut the door to their room and looked at Tommy with a tired smile. Then he shook his head and draped his coat and scarf over the back of his desk chair.
"What, Nicky, I can't be happy?"
"Yeah, T. You can be happy. I'm just tired. Don't mean to be a downer at your Chase Hamilton party."
Tommy felt bad. Nick's face did look completely worn out. He went over and pushed Nick until he was sitting, slouched over, on the edge of his bed. Then he wrapped Nick's arms around his waist and hugged him, hunching to kiss Nick on the head.
"I'm sorry you had a crappy day. You want me to make you some cocoa or tea?"
Nick mumbled something unintelligible into Tommy's stomach.
"I said that's sweet but no thanks." Nick lifted his head, droopy silver eyes looked right at Tommy. He didn't loosen his arms though, just kept hugging. "I meant to tell you, there's an indie marathon at the Roxie this weekend. Wanna go on a roommate date?"
"Roommate date? Of course I want to! What movies are they showing?"
"I know for sure they're showing Shelter, which is awesome, and I think one about a dancing school, and one with lesbians." Tommy made a skeptical face at that one. "It's only like eight bucks for all three. " Nick shrugged.
"Doesn't really matter, I guess." Tommy grinned. "I'll go no matter what. Seems like all we ever do around each other anymore is pass out."
Nick rubbed his face against Tommy's stomach then sat up. Tommy's heart broke by how worn down he looked.
"Why don't you lay down and let me rub your back. It seems like you've had the crappiest week ever."
"Are you serious?" Nick smiled at him incredulously.
"Yeah, I'm serious. Put your PJ bottoms on and lay down."
"This sounds like the beginning of a porno."
Tommy snorted. "Wouldn't know." He tugged at Nick. "C'mon, I promise I'll put you to sleep."
"All right, you talked me into it."
Nick gave him another smile, this one sleepy and soft. Then he pulled his sweater and t-shirt over his head. Tommy rubbed at his flat lightly muscled stomach for a second as he walked to the bathroom, before he realized just how touchy and intimate he was being. He hoped Nick didn't mind all the constant cuddling. He hadn't ever realized it was part of his personality. He'd certainly never been touchy like that with his family or any of his high school friends. Tommy didn't even think with Nick. He simply felt warm and friendly. Like he said at Christmas, it was...easy.
Nick came in from their bathroom, plaid flannel pants on, jeans in his hand ready to toss into the washbasket.
"Okay, magic fingers. I'm ready to be relaxed to the point of insensibility."
Tommy giggled, still feeling a bit giddy from earlier. He shut all the lights off other than the lamp that was on Nick's desk, then quickly changed into his own pajama bottoms so that he could move easier than he did in his jeans. Then he snagged the one bottle of lotion he had in his stuff and sat on the corner of Nick's bed.
"This'll be easier if I straddle you."
Nick snorted. "That's what she said."
Tommy tugged at his hair. "I'm serious. Do you care?"
Nick was still chuckling. "No, it's fine."
Tommy went to work on Nick's back, humming to himself as he tried to stretch out the tight muscles in his shoulders and around his spine. Tommy wasn't going to try any complicated physical therapy maneuvers that he'd probably do wrong, he just wanted to help Nick relax, so he kept his touch light and tried to loosen Nick's muscles until he'd be able to fall asleep.
Nick was silent for a few minutes, but he groaned when Tommy went for the tightness in his lower back.
"That's awesome, T. Those old wooden chairs in Halliwell suck."
"You're telling me. I had math in there last quarter and I swear my ass went numb by the end of class."
"That's cause you don't have padding like I do," Nick muttered with a chuckle.
All of a sudden the round, muscular butt that he'd been sitting on was the only thing he could notice. Tommy gulped. No, no, no. Don't think about that, for christ sakes It was Nick. Yeah, Tommy had noticed how hot his best friend was--he wasn't effing blind after all. But he couldn't let himself look at Nick that way ever. Not when one weird moment could potentially ruin their new but instantly essential friendship. It could've happened after that drunk bad idea of a kiss on Christmas. Sexy, consuming, amazing, bad idea--
"Ow!" Nick complained. Tommy realized he'd been digging into his back with tense thumbs.
"Sorry, just working a knot out."
"It's okay. I feel way better already.' Nick reached behind him and tugged on Tommy's arm. "C'mere and lay down."
Tommy allowed himself to be pulled off of Nick's back and dragged around until they were face to face. Nick tugged his throw blanket up and over them. He took a long look at Tommy's face.
"What's up, babe? You look worried about something."
Tommy gritted his teeth. "Nah, it's nothin."
"Doesn't look like nothing. Did I do something? Is it Chase?"
He sounded so resigned at that thought that Tommy had to laugh. "No it's not Chase, and I promise I'm not going to be stupid about him. I know he drives you crazy. I guess I was just worried that I annoy you. I mean, I'm all over you all the time and--" He didn't know how to finish.
Nick reached up and cupped Tommy's face, kissing him on the forehead. "I wouldn't let you do it if I didn't like it."
"But what if there's some other guy around. He could totally take it the wrong way."
"There isn't anyone here except us." Nick chuckled and wiped at the worry lines on Tommy's face. "I'll let you know if you're ever cockblocking, okay?"
"Cockblocking? Do I even want to know?"
Nick smiled. "I always forget that you're from 1950 or something. It just means getting in the way, like if I wanted to go after some guy's...you know." He shrugged.
"Oh." Tommy ducked his head into his chest, embarrassed.
"Yeah, uh, wouldn't want to, uh, cockblock anyone." He tried out the new vocabulary word tentatively.
Nick chuckled. "You're such a dork. Go to sleep, yeah?" Tommy went to get up. "No. Just stay here. I'm warm for the first time all day. It's nice."
Nick rolled his eyes and pulled the comforter out from under his feet to tuck around them both. "Yeah, I'm sure."
* * * * The theater was packed on Saturday. Apparently, the fliers that they'd posted around campus had done some good since by the time they got there, the line was nearly ten feet out the door from the ticket counter inside. Nick just tugged Tommy into line, happy simply to be off campus, with his best friend, and-- oh, shit. Really?
He saw Chase beckoning enthusiastically at him from near the front of the line. He was with a crowd of...actually those were Nick's friends Chase was with. Where were his frat buddies? Nick found himself being childishly annoyed that Chase had insinuated himself in with people he'd usually have nothing to do with. One of the girls they hung out with, Susan, noticed them standing in the back of the line and waved for them to come up as well.
"Hey, T. Everyone's up there and they're going to let us cut in with them. You wanna go?"
Tommy shrugged. "Kinda thought today was just going to be us, but whatever you want."
Nick couldn't believe it. "You sure? Chase is up there."
Tommy pinched him. "I'm not that big of an idiot. Let's just stay back here."
Nick nodded, then waved and shook his head indicating that they weren't going to move. He was really impressed that Tommy didn't ditch their plans for a crush.
They weaved their way into the theater after standing in line for armfulls of candy, popcorn, and soda. It was packed, but they managed to find a few seats in an empty section near the front. Nick juggled the snacks as Tommy sat, then passed them over so he could get comfortable. They put the armrest between them up and balanced the popcorn in the space between the two chairs. It took some shuffling, but finally they were comfortable. The theater was a little chilly, too old to be well heated. Tommy cuddled up to Nick, just like he always did, making sure that all the snacks were spread out so they could both get to them. Nick didn't care what was happening on the screen. He was happy exactly where he was for the rest of the day.
The first movie wasn't anything he'd ever pick, about some older lady who'd always wanted to be a gymnast but got hurt and then somehow ended up falling in love with a chick. He wasn't much into the girl on girl action but he had to admit it wasn't a bad movie. The best part was Tommy of course. After he'd gotten tired of the candy and popcorn, he'd wound his hand around Nick's leg and was leaning on his shoulder. Nick smiled and thought of the other night when Tommy had apologized for being so touchy-feely. He had no idea how much Nick loved it. He'd probably stop in a heartbeat.
Tommy got up in the intermission and said he needed to use the rest room. Nick stayed back to hold their seats, and was surprised when a big guy nearly pounced him, dropping into Tommy's seat like he lived there. Nick, who'd been staring off into space, pretending not to think about Tommy, turned to tell the guy that the seat was taken, but had to hold back a groan when he saw it was Chase.
"Hey, homo. I won't interrupt your date. Just saying hi. I promise I'll clear out when your dorky boyfriend comes back."
"God, Chase, can't you just go back to stealing my friends and leave me alone?"
"What's your issue, yo? What have I ever done to you?"
"Other than drive me nuts since we were five?" Nick shook his head. The guy didn't have a clue how much he hurt people--or he really just didn't give a shit. "You have any idea how many broken hearts I've put back together cause of you? I don't want to do it again."
"Never asked you to."
"It just happens. So leave Tommy alone. And stop calling him my boyfriend. No matter what I feel, and I'm not saying I do, it's just not like that between him and I."
Chase shook his head. "Then he's an idiot."
"You're not allowed to say stuff like that to me. I know you don't mean it."
"You don't know what I mean. It's been so long since you'd even talk to me that we barely know each other. Too bad, really." With that, Chase ruffled Nick's hair and vaulted over the back of the chair to get back to his own seat.
Nick stared at the blank screen, bemused. Just when he thought he had Chase all figured out...
* * * *
"How come you don't date, Nicky?"
The question came out of nowhere, floating in the dark from Tommy's bed. Nick had almost been asleep, but he'd jerked under the covers when Tommy's voice had startled him. Too late to pretend.
What is this? Weird awkward conversation day? Nick didn't know what to say. 'I don't date anyone else because I'm in love with you', didn't seem to be the best choice.
"Haven't met anyone that I want to be with, I guess," he lied.
"This college is huge."
"Then why aren't you dating anyone?"
Tommy shot him a glare. "You know the answer to that."
"Your conversationally challenged, and you want to jump on my ape of an ex-friend who's not worth the dirt on your shoes?" Oops...Didn't mean to say all that.
"Ex friend?" Shit. Nick was hoping he'd missed that part of the mini-rant. "Something did happen between you guys. I'd pretty much convinced myself it was just clashing personalities."
"Yeah, something happened." Nick tried to hold in the giant sigh that really wanted to escape.